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Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:33PM
A euro symbol

A euro symbol

Official figures have revealed that the economies of the recession-bound eurozone and the wider 27-country European Union contracted 0.2 percent in the second quarter of this year. New data released by the Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, on Tuesday showed that gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 0.2 percent in “both the Euro area and the EU27 during the second quarter of 2012, compared with the previous quarter.” The new figures reflect how Europe edges toward recession as gross domestic product growth stood at zero in both the EU and the eurozone. A recession is officially defined as two straight quarters of falling output. The eurozone would officially be in recession if it was not for Europe's biggest economy, Germany’s economic growth of 0.3 percent in the second quarter. Among the eurozone's biggest contractions, Portugal's GDP shrank by 1.2 percent, Cyprus recorded a 0.8 percent contraction and Italy was down 0.7 percent. Various eurozone member states have been struggling with deep economic stagnancy since the bloc’s financial crisis began roughly five years ago. Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal are all in recession and all five are receiving financial assistance from European bailout funds. This is while the number of people unemployed across the 17 countries that share the euro currency hit a record high in June. The figures released by the Eurostat, showed that 17.801 million people were out of work in the eurozone in June. The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries. MR/PG
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